Deputy PM says relying on tourism is “unacceptable”

Thailand’s deputy PM says that relying too much on tourism is “unacceptable.” In Supattanapong Punmeechaow’s speech, he said that the tourism industry will never be allowed to recover to its previous levels.

For years, Amazing Thailand was the nation’s slogan, which brought in $56.2 billion in 2019 alone, but after Covid struck, it is clear that there has been a major policy shift in thinking by PM Prayut’s cabinet.

As the nation’s travel and tourism industry accounts for up to 20% of GNP and around 10% of all jobs, the revelation is troublesome for the country’s investors and property developers, which may see no point in continuing to build up Thailand with more hotels, if the industry may never see a repeat of the 39 million+ tourists that arrived in 2019.

The deputy PM admitted that the Covid outbreak exposed cracks and flaws in the economy.

“The Covid-19 outbreak that hit Thailand since April has exposed the fragility of the economy and shed light on the fact that we rely too much on export and tourism.”

At the “Restart Thailand 2021” dinner talk held at Siam Paragon shopping complex in Bangkok he pointed to the toll that the virus has taken on small and medium businesses in which the government took action to help curb the effect that the virus had on such establishments by postponing debt repayment and aid measures.

“However, from July onwards, economic indicators have been pointing toward an improving trend thanks to cooperation from all parties in outbreak prevention, despite some minor impact from the political situations.”

“The tourism industry has shown improvement, with about 30% occupation, jumping from just 6 per cent in April, thanks to the government’s economic stimulus campaigns such as the ‘Let’s Go Halves’ shopping subsidy.”

“Through the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation, the government is also planning to provide an additional 150 billion baht in loans to help small and medium businesses.”

“It is unacceptable to let Thailand slide back to the period before Covid-19. Since the global economy is changing we must be more proactive in attracting foreign investors, and the agencies responsible for this are the Board of Investment Office and Eastern Economic Corridor Office.”

“The next step will be to put Thailand on the list of top 10 countries with ease of doing business, which is a goal proposed by 5 countries who are our major trade partners.”

The deputy PM says this year the government will focus on investing in new industries that will help reduce reliance on export and tourism.

“Bangkok will be the centre of regional offices of multinational companies, while Thailand’s automotive industry will focus on the manufacturing of electric vehicles.”

“EVs will create other related industries such as smart equipment manufacturing and electricity generating from renewable energy. This will create a great opportunity for Thailand to further invest in community power plants, as well as biomass and solar power plants in Laos.”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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